Crespi Not Neighborly in 44-0 Win

Despite being located only about five miles from each other, Taft and Crespi high schools have not met in football since 1977.

The Toreadors might want to wait another decade before they try it again.

Crespi, behind a bruising defense and a typically impressive running attack, easily won, 44-0, Saturday night at Taft.

As rivalries go, the matchup wasn't exactly UCLA-USC. It was more like Oklahoma-Tulsa.

The Celts (3-0-1) scored on six of their first seven possessions. Russell White, who scored on a 29-yard run to cap Crespi's first drive, also scored to open the second quarter, this from 14 yards out on a scamper that covered most of the field.

White, who finished with 142 yards and 3 touchdowns on 18 carries, took the handoff on a sweep to the left side, cut back into the middle of the field and capped the run with a dive into the end zone.

Crespi, ranked No. 10 by USA Today and No. 1 in the Valley by The Times, scored twice more in the second quarter to take a 28-0 halftime lead.

Last week, Taft (1-1) beat Fairfax, 27-7, when its top three running backs combined for 291 yards. Against the Celts, however, the trio gained just 99 yards on 29 carries.

"We're coming together," said Rob O'Byrne, the Celts' quarterback who also plays defensive back, referring to the Crespi defense that shut out Santa Barbara last week. "Every week we're getting better. We could be just as good or better than last year's."

Crespi's special teams contributed heavily to the lopsided score. Early in the second quarter, the Celts' John Goetz blocked a punt. Crespi's Chad Nichols grabbed the loose ball and ran 24 yards for the touchdown.

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